Uganda’s Asian exodus: Rose-tinted memories and current realities

Uganda’s Asian exodus: Rose-tinted memories and current realities

There are approximately 20 people displaced every minute as a result of conflict or persecution. This is according to recent figures from the United Nations that put an unprecedented 65.6 million people worldwide in the category of forcible displacement.

In 1972, Rupal Rajani and her family became victims of one of history’s most blatant displays of cultural prejudice on the African continent.

Then Ugandan President Idi Amin ordered the expulsion of the country’s Asian population, displacing tens of thousands from the place they called home.

Merely a child when they left Uganda, Rajani recalls a confused childhood in the UK, conflicted family memories and her return to a country she still somewhat considers home.

This is her story in her own words:

Rupal Rajani, Ugandan Asian broadcast journalist based in Leicester, UK [Rupal Rajani/Al Jazeera]

“I was only two years old when we had to leave Uganda. We lived in Kakira, which is a huge sugar plantation. There was my mum and dad, my grandmother, my brother and two older sisters, with me being the youngest. I don’t actually remember much, but I’ve heard many stories and I’ve been back to Uganda a couple of times. 

My dad was about 14 years old [when he moved from India to Uganda]. He wanted to be a doctor originally, but my grandfather died when he was just seven months old. After that, it was just my grandmother and him, so he decided to go to Uganda to try and find work to better his life.

He ended up doing odd jobs, selling whatever he could on his bike. He worked his way up to the point where he was working for one of the richest Asian families in Uganda as an

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